Saturday, 16 October 2010

A&P Festival

This weekend Gisborne held its anual A&P Festival and Bilge Rat and my humble self went to see it.
A&P stands for Agriculture & Pastoral and A&P Festivals are held throughout the country. They are comparable to Germany's Volksfest and probably local town festivals in other European countries.

However Gisborne's A&P festival was much bigger than any German festival I have been on (except maybe the Oktoberfest), and there is much more to see and do. The festival grounds compose a huge area with all kind of different attractions going on.

A big hall hosted the winners of all kind of crazy competitions ranging from best pickle and best cookies to best thing created with an egg box. It seemed there were competitions about everything you could imagine. The rest of the hall was filled with traders displaying their goods, like an exhibition (e.g. Tupperware).

sheep shearing competetion

Behind the hall there was the animal area, where you could find at farmers displaying their proudest cattle and sheep. The probably most interesting thing here, was the Sheep Shearing Competition. As you can see in the video below, this was a major event for the area, where New Zealand's fastest sheep shearers competed for a desired title. And hell were they quick. However speed wasn't everything as you had to be gentle to the sheep at the same time, else it would not cooperate. But have a look for yourself:

So what about the other events? In the center of the festival grounds, there was a big fenced off area for other competitions and shows. We didn't see much of those, but here are some pictures and a video about the Whip Cracker Masters.

whip cracker master

Apart from these shows, the biggest part of the festival grounds was made up by traders displaying their goods. Most of it were targeted at farmers, so you could see tractors, lawn mowers, chain saws and the like.

One we thing we never expected when going to this festival was to finally get hands on a tent. But in the trade area there also were two traders selling tents. After having a closer look at them, the trader approached us and said: "Tell you what. If you take this demo-tent home with you, I'll give it to you for 50 bucks". The demo-tent was errected for display and ergo dirty from the mud. Thus he wanted us to take it, so he doesn't have to clean it. With it being effectively a brand new tent with a value above 100$, we quickly agreed. Finding only 40$ in my wallet, he even agreed to that and we are now proud owners of our first own tent. :)

bilge rat cleaning our new tent

Another cool thing we encountered was a truck set up by the Gisborne Fire Fighters. They would let you try on their fire fighting gear and test it in action. Inside the truck they set up a smoke area with minimum sight simulating a burning house. Your task was to enter that house, find the survivor (a manikin) and carry him out. They put a lot of effort in it and it was pretty cool wearing a real gasmask navigating through the smoke filled house. Both Bilge Rat and me succeeded in rescuing the manikin after some help. The aid had to show me that a door of the house inside the truck was not locked, as I assumed and to Bilge Rat he showed her where to find the survivor after she couldn't find him. In reality, of course, the two of us would have had no problems. ;)

fire fighter bilge rat
fire fighter scallywag

Finally there also was a traditional festival area with rides and attractions, chips and ice cream. Here we got some tickets for the haunted house, only to find it full of teenagers in puberty smoking, drinking and using their cell phone inside. It was really really bizarre...

After the festival we heard that there also were wine booths, where you could try wine from the local wineries. A lot of poeple got drunk and started fighting. Many people had to be brought to hospital for cuts and lacerations. At home domestic violence on women peaked. Truly my friends, in Gisborne we have arrived at the wild wild east...

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